Leon Štukelj (listen; 12 November 1898 – 8 November 1999) was a Slovene professional gymnast. He was an Olympic gold medalist and athlete who represented Yugoslavia at the Olympics.[1]

Leon Štukelj
Štukelj in 1958 displaying his six Olympic medals
Personal information
Country represented Yugoslavia
Born(1898-11-12)12 November 1898
Novo Mesto, Carniola, Austria-Hungary
(now Slovenia)
Died8 November 1999(1999-11-08) (aged 100)
Maribor, Slovenia
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
Medal record
Men's gymnastics
Representing Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1924 Paris All-around
Gold medal – first place 1924 Paris Horizontal bar
Gold medal – first place 1928 Amsterdam Rings
Bronze medal – third place 1928 Amsterdam Team competition
Bronze medal – third place 1928 Amsterdam All-around
Silver medal – second place 1936 Berlin Rings
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1922 Ljubljana Parallel bars
Gold medal – first place 1922 Ljubljana Horizontal bar
Gold medal – first place 1922 Ljubljana Rings
Gold medal – first place 1926 Lyon Horizontal bar
Gold medal – first place 1926 Lyon Rings
Silver medal – second place 1922 Ljubljana Pommel horse
Bronze medal – third place 1926 Lyon Parallel bars
Bronze medal – third place 1930 Luxembourg Horizontal bar

He is a noted figure in Slovenian sporting history. Štukelj is one of the first Slovene athletes to have risen to the very top of his sport, where he remained right from the World Championships in Ljubljana in 1922 all the way to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, at which point he finished his competitive gymnastics career.

Štukelj competed at seven major international competitions and won a total of twenty medals: eight gold, six silver, and six bronze. At the Olympic Games alone he won six medals: two gold medals (counted for Yugoslavia) in Paris in 1924, one gold medal and two bronze in Amsterdam in 1928, and a silver medal in Berlin in 1936.

Biography edit

Štukelj was born in Novo Mesto, Austria-Hungary (now in Slovenia).

In 1927, Štukelj graduated with a degree in law. Since his youth, he was an active member of the Slovenian Sokol athletic movement. After finishing his sports career, he became a judge, first in his hometown Novo Mesto. Later, he moved to Lenart, and then to Maribor, where he lived until his death. After World War II, Štukelj was not a supporter of the newly formed Communist regime of Yugoslavia. He took part in the Yugoslav royalist (Chetnik) movement, hostile to Tito's partisans, and maintained contacts with the British Special Operations Executive.[2][3][4] For these reasons, he was suspicious to the new Communist regime. After the war, he was first imprisoned, then released; but permanently barred from being a judge. He worked as a legal assistant for the rest of his career.

Štukelj was presented at the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta in 1996 as the oldest living Olympic gold medalist at the time, where he shook hands with the current President of the United States at the time, Bill Clinton. He also presented the medals to winners in the men's team competition.

His one-hundredth birthday in 1998 was a major celebration in Slovenia. Štukelj still exercised regularly until even just before his death, only four days short of his one-hundred and first birthday.

Today a sports hall in Novo Mesto, mainly used by a local basketball team, is named after him, in addition to the University Sports Hall situated on the campus of the University of Maribor.

Hall of Fame edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Leon Štukelj". Olympedia. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Slovenačke straže đenerala Draže".
  4. ^ "Četnici". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  5. ^ "LEON STUKELJ". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  6. ^ dolenjskilist.si

External links edit